Tamara Laporte (also known as willowing) is a mixed media artist, illustrator and online art teacher who loves making a mess and has an unhealthy obsession with brayering paint. Her work can be described as “mixed media folk art”. It ranges from whimsical children’s illustrations to a more stylised fantasy art. Love, mystery, innocence, hope, spirituality, kindness and self-connection inspires her art work. Her paintings often contain healing themes, uplifting messages an inspirational poetry. She believes that the act of creating art can be a catalyst for healing and personal growth – often, her art classes contain an element of self development as well as learning art techniques. She is deeply passionate about helping people get in touch with their creative fire and would love to help YOU too to get in touch with the artist in you!
She is also a prolific art journaller and creates stuffed toys and art dolls when she has the time. More recently, she’s started dabbling in the world of digital creations and has come to enjoy making paintings in Photoshop with a wacom tablet as well. Her work and articles have been published in several magazines and books. She is based in Brighton in the UK with her lovely husband Andy and her 2 magical children Dylan & Elliot. She’s been teaching online art workshops since 2008 on her ning network which at present has over 9200+ members and grows with about 150 mixed media enthusiasts a month!. For a more detailed interview, go here: http://willowing.ning.com/
You can contact me by email on willowing AT gmail.com or tam AT willowing.org – please note that due to the volume of emails I receive I may not be able to respond to yours if they contain queries about how I print my work or price my original paintings. I created a blog post with answers to most of the questions I get asked the most here: http://www.willowing.org/2012/08/24/the-questions-i-get-asked-the-most/
I also deeply appreciate your emails in which you express gratitude to me, I love you for sending me these emails but again, because I juggle being a mum to 2, running a household and a business I may not be able to acknowledge your wonderful email. I feels sad about that but also need to maintain my sanity! So please know that I deeply appreciate your emails but may not always be able to respond to them. You may also receive a response from my husband Andy who is running the business with me. I really really appreciate your email and love you for thinking of me! It’s just not possible for me to reply to every email I receive. Thank you for understanding. <3
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Tam works with anything that sticks really, but to name the materials she uses most often:
:: watersoluble crayons – caran d’ache
:: watercolour pencils – staedler/ caran d’ache/ derwent
:: acrylic paint daler-drowner, galeria, golden
:: a variety of gelpens from pilot & signo uniball
:: acrylic medium gloss & matte gel (golden & liquitex)
:: graphite pencils
:: bookpages (currently: LOTR & HP)
:: magazine cutouts/ scrapbooking papers
:: glitter, salt, sequins
:: buttons, fabric, ribbon, wool, texture paste
:: feathers, scrapbook paper, vellum paper
:: beeswax, rubber stamps, ink
:: moleskine large plain notebook
:: moleskine large watercolour notebook
:: waterford & saunders – hot pressed watercolour paper 140 lbs
:: a variety of larger A4 sized ones, no particular brand
:: watercolour paper: canson, cold press, acid free, 300gsm
:: watercolour paper: daler rowney, the langton: hot press: 300gsm
:: acrylics/ mixed media: daler-rowney canvas
In addition to being an artist, I am also a student of Nonviolent Communication™. NVC is a style of communication that focuses on the quality of connection between people and inspires compassion in and for the self and others. Within the NVC model – judgement (both positive and negative) isn’t considered a helpful way of letting people know how they are progressing with their work (if you are interested in this theory read: “Punished by Rewards” by Alfie Kohn).
Therefore, when I teach, I aim to avoid using terminology such as “right” and “wrong”, “good” and “bad”. Instead I try to focus on the quality of the art experience. Feedback is given by looking at what makes us happiest in our art, not what might be considered ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ art. The emphasis is on the emotional rather than the intellectual experience of the creation process. While the two often overlap, I find that focusing on the emotional experience, opens people up more and often helps them progress with their art more than through receiving criticism conducted within the ‘right’/ ‘wrong’ paradigm. For more information on NVC: www.cnvc.org
My life style and healing approach is very much influenced by the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie, contemplating the nature of being and practicing presence, awareness and acceptance. For more information on these teachers: www.thework.com – www.eckhartolle.com
I am also a qualified hypnotherapist and nlp practitioner and use some ideas/ healing methods of hypnotherapy and nlp in my art courses.
2. Where are you from?
I was born in Holland, Velsen (3rd May 1976). I left Holland in 1994/1995 and then lived in London for about 10 years (mostly in Brixton & Streatham), I then went to Sri Lanka for 2.5 years and I am now back in the UK.
3. Where are you based currently?
4. Do you do run workshops in person?
Not yet, I hope to do a few either in London and/or Brighton, but it takes a while to set up, and now that I have 2 small children won’t have energy/ time, but nag me and I might! :-) I’ve always wanted to go back to running an art/ music/ drama club for kids which is what I did in Sri Lanka, but that too is hard to organise here, maybe one day!
5. What is your art background?
I’ve been doing art since I was a wee one. I remember in junior school drawing a cat and being so so proud of it!I took art and art history as a subject in high school (Berger Scholen Gemeenschap – Bergen Holland) and majored (is that the word?) in it too. For Dutch people; I went to VWO and art was one of my final subjects in the final year. After highschool I auditioned for 2 art schools and was accepted for both, one in Enschede and one in Amsterdam, I went to the one in Amsterdam (Hogeschool voor de Beeldende Kunsten Amsterdam). It was a mostly miserable experience (apart from meeting one of my best friends ever there!).
Since then I’ve been doing art on my own. The materials I used in the past most were acrylics/ pastels/ watercolours on canvas or canvas board (in art school we used oils but the turpentine drove me mental). My art has in the past 4-5 years become more mixed media. I started art journaling in 2005-06 after I found an art journaling community on livejournal where I blog.
I taught drama, music and art to 2.5 – 11 year olds in an International Junior School in Sri Lanka for 2.5 years (Elizabeth Moir School). My main role there was; extra curricular coordinator, I organised sporting events, the schools art exhibition, directed (and at some point wrote!) the main school play and taught drama/ music and art to all age levels). I miss the kids and teachers there TREMENDOUSLY. ♥
6. What is up with your hands? They look odd sometimes when I watch your videos.
I have an illness called rheumatoid arthritis. It is an autoimmune disease in which my immune system attacks my own joints (fun eh!) I’ve been lucky enough to not have been crippled by it, but my hands have suffered some deformities which is what you may notice in the videos. I often wear my little finger-less gloves to ‘hide’ the deformities. While I have mostly accepted that my hands look different, I still sometimes wish they looked “normal”. However, I love my hands for what they are still able to do and I am extremely thankful for the mobility they still have. : )
7. How can I contact you?
Either msg me on ning or youtube or email me: tam[at]willowing[dot]org.
8. Who are your influences?
There are many fantastic artists out there who I have drawn inspiration from! In no particular order: Audrey Kawasaki, Lori Early, Tascha (timewithtascha), Jane DesRosier (Gritty Jane), Misty Mawn, Ann-Julie (thenebulouskingdom), Suzi Blu, Stephen Mackey, Josee Savaria, Teesha Moore, Liz (primoriginals), Paulette Insall, Kelly Rae Roberts, Milliande, Claudine Hellmuth, Beryl Taylor, Karen Michell, Gwen Diehn, the list goes on.
From the old masters I’ve been influenced by the work of: Gustav Klimt, Gaudi, Hundertwasser, Franz Marc, Matisse, Chagall, Kandinsky and Odilon Redon, but again the list goes on.